[Desk Repair] Routing the trim…

Today,  taking advantage of the 50° temperatures outside after another cold snap (yes, it snowed two days ago)  I used my hand planes to knock down the slight lip on the maple support of the shortened desktop and the pine trim piece I glued up last time.   It only took a few minutes – it took me longer to remember how to stand and hold the thing than it did to start the shavings flying.  It’s been entirely too long since I was in the shop.  Nevertheless,  I quickly had a nice level surface on the bottom.

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Once everything was prepared, I pulled out a classic cove (5/8″) bit for my new router (a Dewalt compact kit with plunge base) set everything up and went to town.

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The router started smooth, is a heck of a lot quieter than my other ones and was a joy to maneuver.  Three shallow passes and I was in business.  I will likely do a review of this little router later.

Anyway…As you can see in the next photo, I got a bit of tearout on the very end, but that was because I was climb cutting (very very slowly, even) to get it smooth in the curve.  I don’t fault the router in this, but rather that I didn’t get this section of the pine completely flush to the particle board backing. The gap let things vibrate and it just chipped out. I think.  Here’s what it looked like:

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No worries though – a little touch up with my carving chisels and I had a nice flowing transition from real thing to repair job…on one end:

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And t’other:

 

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I knocked off the sharp edges with sandpaper and called it a day.  Most importantly, I impressed the heck out of my wife – bonus points!

Now I just need to wait for a day when it gets above 65°-70° so I can play with stains to try and match colors.  Then I can cross another project off the list!  (And get my desk back!)

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[Desk Repair] Back to work…

Back in the heart of winter, oh, about a month ago, before my surgeries, before Percoset, before spring….my wife and I decided to switch our dining room with our office.  We had wood floors put in and the change has not only made the house look better but made us (her) VERY happy.   The flooring was installed while I recovered from surgery #1 (planned).  The  everything had to wait while I recovered from surgery #2 (unplanned!).    Despite all that drama during March, things progressed smoothly.

With one small problem.  Our desk, a big L-shaped Sam’s Club monster from when we lived in Texas, has lived through a lot and this final move was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

It simply wouldn’t stay together and the top had warped enouh that my humble repairs (two years ago) were straining to keep it in one piece, let alone in place.

My solution, remove the long side with the warped top.  Cut the top to fit just the left end of it (the drawer section) and then use a router to fix the edge profile and reattach to the leaner, meaner, remnant of a desk.

So, with the requisite spousal approval, I got to work.  Turns out the solid wood desk we thought we had was actually particle board with a wood veneer (even undrrneath…which is why I had been fooled for 8 years!).

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To repair this and route the edge, I needed a wood support and wood trim.  So I got a piece of 3/4″ maple and cut it to fit.  The  I used some scrap pine, set up my resaw fence on the bandsaw and cut two custom-sized pieces to make the trim.  In the first actual use of this shop made fence from last year, I can safely report it worked like a charm!

Here is the moulding I’m trying to mimic:

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After some judicious use of clamps, the glue dried and I have this:

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Now, I have something for the router to shape!

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Just need to spin up the router and when it’s shaped, I should be able to play with stains and match the color.

Looking forward to some warmer weather this week to try my hand at the new router!  That and I’d like to get the file cabinet out of my shop and get some space back….

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Opening Day 2014

It’s official!  The Vaught Woodworks Shop is open for 2014.  The weather finally eased the death grip it’s had on our necks up here in Wisconsin and it got to 65° today!!!  It felt like high summer after a George R. R. Martin winter (any longer and I would have started seeing white walkers….).

After the month I’ve had (a scheduled…ahem…family planning operation for me in the first week of March, followed by my father-in-law having a life threatening run in with pneumonia and then (and I kid you not) an 11th hour emergency appendectomy for me, a mere two weeks to the day from my…other…procedure, spent some quality time with Percoset and quick as a flash,  I lost an entire month to recovery and bed rest and late nights with my now two month old son.

Add a dose of  cabin fever, a house tore up (because we decided to do some reno work and have the kitchen floor refinished while my wife was on maternity) and two older kids that just cannot WAIT for spring and you can see why March is now on my list.

I need woodworking and I need it NOW.  So when the weather cooperated and the kids were turned loose outside, I grabbed my new Stanley chisels (I’ve been staring at them since Christmas…) my new oil stones and headed out to the back deck to do some soul cleansing and sharpening.

I got three of the five chisels sharpened to a nice mirror edge.  Oh my goodness did that feel good.   Too soon, too soon, the clock chirped and life intervened again – time to get the kiddos to swimming, time to prep dinner, etc.   On the way in to the (for the first time in about 6 months) not-freezing garage shop, I checked the weather, hoping for a chance tomorrow to continue sharpening.

Tomorrow’s high?  40°.

Ugh.

Today’s session may have been short and just a tease, but after the long bitter winter and this crazy month, it was just what the doctor ordered.

I’ve got a lot planned for the shop in 2014…more info on that soon!

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[Rocket Bookcase] The Hinge

At long last, I was cleared (sort of) for duty back in the shop.  This back injury has been a doozy and has brought my woodworking almost to a standstill—and at the worst time too.  With daytime highs now in the low to mid 30s, my shop is all but closed up for the winter.

Undeterred, I am powering through the rough spots.  I picked up where leaving off oh, a month or two ago, and cut out the pieces for the hinge.  I think this picture is pretty self explanatory:

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As you can see there’s a base split into three parts: a middle support glued in place between the two curved…things? arms?….and the dowel keeps everything nice and tidy but lets it swivel nicely.  I just need to tweak the angle of the curve where it meets the door.  An easy trim.  All parts of the hinge were cut on the bandsaw back in September.

Then I turned my attention (on a balmy 40º day recently) to the screw holes and imperfections on the two base pieces.  Using some wood epoxy putty, I plugged every hole I could find then went back and sanded everything smooth.  Ready for paint and finish now!

With the base pretty much ready to go, I busted out the router table and hogged some wood off around the four sides of the door. This allows the oversize door to fit inside the lip of the “hatch”:

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Now, assuming I didn’t make my back worse by doing this, the next time I head out I should be able to round the corners on the hatch, attach the hinge base in position and paint!

But how am I going to paint and finish in a garage that’s only 40º on a warm day, you ask?  Yeah.   Haven’t figured that one out yet…

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[Mobile Band Saw Stand] Wheels and Such

At long last I was feeling well enough to strap on the back brace and tinker in the shop.  First order of business was to get the band saw base finished so I could move the band saw off the bench and get back to work on the Rocket Bookcase before winter sets in.

First order of business was to cut the 2×4 segments needed to form the wheel supports and levers. Once that was accomplished (with only minor swearage and back pain on my part) I attached castors.

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Then I screwed together the supports and attached the lever arms to the wheel bases and put all that inside the bottom frame. It’s important to remember which one is which: the long lever (boosted up on a 2×4 block) goes on the rear of the base. The shorter lever goes on the front, which allows it to stick up and ride the rear lever. Like so:

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In the above photo, the rear of the base is on the left. I have two hinges from an old door we removed….somewhere…not sure which house they came from now that I think on it….but they were nice and solid, fit perfectly and one hinge per side does the job adequately.
The long lever sticks out towards the front:

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Which allows you to put your foot in between the legs….

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(Next time I do this, I’ll make the long lever another 6 inches longer…as it is, I can just put my foot in there and push down…any shorter and I wouldn’t be able to reach it)

Then all you do is push down (slowly so you don’t upset the balance of the tool)…

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Until you reach bottom. As that happens the curved “hook” made of 3/4″ ply scrap (attached to the base with a big screw I found and a spring to hold it tight) is pushed aside and snaps back into place, locking the long lever in place and keeping the wheels deployed:

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This keeps the base a out an inch or so off the floor:

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Here I need to make a note. Originally, I used a four pack of 1 5/8″ casters on this. Turns out this product was crap. The wheels refused to roll unless perfectly straight and….wait for it….they didn’t rotate worth a damn. Serves me right for going cheap. So…for the purposes of this post, it was a failure, but I have since replaced them with beefier 2″ casters (rear are fixed, front are swivel) and it glides like a dream.

That said, I wasn’t done with this thing. Ooooooh no. Next, I attached an electrical box with a duplex and power switch, made out of an electrical cord following “Ask Woodman”‘s excellent videos. Check out the one I used as an instruction manual here. In short, I took an old extension cord that needed a new male plug (the ground pin had been ripped out a while back and I finally decided to repair it) and cut it up. I then wired the switch and chained it to the duplex. I then added a new male plug and attached the box to the rear left leg on the base. Now I can plug in the light (or shop vac) and the band saw and have a power switch to operate both.

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As you can see in the photo, the next thing I did (after installing the band saw in it’s new home!!) was to make a little cord cleat out of some scrap pine. With that, the mobile base is complete!!

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I really can’t say enough good things about Ask Woodman…if you haven’t checked out his channel on YouTube, especially if you’re a novice like me, you need to. Guy has some quality stuff. The electrical work on this project was one of three videos he produced, each about 12 minutes long and showing every detail, every step of the way. Absolutely gold, man.

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Kindle Kradle

As some or most of you may know, my back has been injured/screwed up since, oh…late July.  It didn’t really put a damper on my workshop activities till the beginning of September when I finally succumbed to the pain and sought the help of the local chiropractor.  Well, after some x-rays and some scary medical jargon (I miss the good ol’ days when it was simply called a “bad back” instead of something that sounds like a terminal disease!) I was basically put on bed-rest (almost).

I was allowed to stand and walk around (in order to keep the household functioning and get the kids to school, etc) but I was told no lifting, no twisting and to stay on my back as much as possible, either on the floor or in bed.  And ice.  I had (and have) to ice my back 20 minutes on, 1 hour off as needed.  Which is a lot.

That said…I can say two things now for a certainty: (1) I have made some great improvement and am cleared for light lifting and somewhat getting back to normal and (2) I still spend a lot of time on my back.

Which leads me to the triumphant return project: the Kindle Kradle!

The idea is simple—find a way to hold a book, magazine or in my case, Kindle e-book reader, above my head while I’m on my back so I don’t have to use my arms to hold it up.  Which, by the way, I have done a LOT of over the past month and a half and man are my arms sore.  But I guess that means they’re getting stronger too…hmmm…

Anyway, the idea I came up with is a simple wooden frame hooked over the top of my bed’s headboard, with an arm on a hinge (supported by a rope) that extends out over my face.  Then there’s just a block for the Kindle that’s attached to the arm.

Even better, I used nothing but scrap I had in the shop and hardware that was laying in the goodie-box (you know, that place where you dump all the odds and ends like random hinges and incomplete sets of stuff, instead of throwing it out).  I had to make a few cuts and these I did on the band saw, since it was sitting on my bench and at a height that it caused no pain at all to operate.  Sweet.

The idea is so simple, I’m just going to show you pictures, because it’s actually harder to describe in words.  I know, weird.  That and it hurts to be sitting down so I’m trying to make this fast.

So, here we go!  Here’s a shot of the prototype, fully assembled and sitting on my headboard.  It’s made of 3/4″ pine with the little angled support pieces made out of a paint stirring stick.  Everything was glued and screwed together.

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It’s about 16″ from the bottom to the hook that goes over the headboard.  The arm extends out 16″ as well from the “elbow”.  There is a spare strap hinge I had laying around holding the “arm” together, with a cord, glued into two oak holders to give the arm support.  Here it is folded up so I can exit or lay down on the bed.

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And here’s the device I designed it for, my old Kindle Keyboard.  My new Kindle Fire HD fits perfectly as well (I started building this before the new toy arrived) but designed it based off specs I got online.

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The back of the holding plate for the Kindle:

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I simply cut a piece of the 3/4″ pine to size (7.5″ by 5″) and stapled some elastic straps to the edges, so that they can hold the device in place.  I also inserted a t-nut so that the little carriage bolt handle (the one I made for the aborted drill press lathe!) can secure the Kindle, and it allows me to easily switch between portrait and landscape mode.

To use it, I start by removing the holder.  Here it is in landscape mode:

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Loosen the handle until the holder pops off:

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Install the Kindle…

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Like so:

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Re-attach and voila, it’s ready to use.  Here’s an example looking up at the screen…

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And here’s my test subject, Kylie, demonstrating the correct reading position…though she doesn’t know how to read yet.

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After some high fives with Kylie, I set about finishing it.  A few coats of stain and some poly sealer, hit with the brown paper back rubbing and it was glossed up and not so…raw…looking.

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And best thing ever—my wife thought it was a pretty cool solution and actually likes it! Especially after I showed her how I lined the back of all edges with felt to protect the finish on our headboard.    After that, she laughed at me for having too much time on my hands.  Well, that’s not really the case…the problem is I have too much time on my back.

In the future, I’m planning on making a holder, maybe out of hardboard or something, that will be big enough to hold magazines or a paperback (then my wife might get one of these things for her side of the bed—seriously, it is so freaking comfortable to use, I love it).

But as a bonus, I found that I can hang it over the back of any chair that will fit and lay on the floor downstairs and ice my back and read at the same time.  AWESOME.  No more staring at the ceiling!

I may look silly (according to Kylie), but at least I can read in comfort again!

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[Mobile Band Saw Stand] Framing the base.

Well, I’m still on quasi-bed rest from the doc.  No lifting, no twisting, and no woodworking.  But….that doesn’t mean I can’t lay here on my back and update the blog on my phone!  I have been storing pictures and progress for a month now since my back started to act up back in late August.  It’s painfully slow progress to heal a back that was jacked up as bad as mine, but progress is progress and I’m in a LOT less pain now!  So that’s good.

Anyway, here’s the deal.  The band saw, awesome as it is (and fun lol) takes up just enough space on the bench to make it awkward to work around.  Solution?  A base/stand…with wheels!  I envisioned it made of tubafores (been watching a lot of Stumpy lately heh heh…since I’m not exactly mobile at the moment) a box on the bottom for the base and a smaller box on top, to which the band saw will be mounted via a plywood platform. The two boxes would then be joined by legs (also tubafores).

To make it mobile I’m going to mount casters on more tubafore lengths using the ingenious method in this video, and this one. If it works, I will retrofit it to the router table as well!

Okay, so just before I started chiropractic sessions, I slapped together the bottom and top boxes. Nothing fancy. The upper, smaller box is about 3″ shorter and just as wide as the lower. That ended up being a mistake—I meant to make the base larger in both dimensions but (and I will blame back pain as ruining my concengration) I endes up making two rectangles instead of squares….

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Nothing fancy here, just simple butt joints, glued n’ screwed. As the glue was drying, I attached he legs, cut to length to match the height of my bench (the band saw is at a comfortable height sitting on the bench right now so I figured I’d keep it there).

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Once the legs were attached to the base, I cut half lap joints on the ends, with the razor saw.

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This allowed the top to slip in nice and secure. With a little tweaking it was as close to a perfect fit as I’ve made using this technique!

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However…I quickly discovered that one of the sides on the base was twisted and it threw the whole contraption off-kilter. To fix the slight wobble and gove the base a little more stability to boot, I cut some feet on the band saw:

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Then being very careful to make sure each one was square and at the same spot on each side, I glued and screwed them to the base.

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As you can see, this gave me an unlevel base with four feet. And the picture shows the gap on one side. Back to the band saw to make shims from the cutoff tubafore bits laying around.

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Perfect. That fence I made for the little band saw is coming in handy! I flipped the base over and dry fitted on the ground:

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And the level is spot on. All that’s left is to glue up the shims and go get some more tubafores and casters and mount the plywood to the band saw and put it all together!

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Here it is gluing up, and the way it’s been sitting for a week. With the way my back is slowly healing, who knows when I’ll get back out in the shop, but at least the hard part of this project will be done!

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